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Are Twitter Retweets Authentic? Which Content is King?

The names in this post have been omitted to protect the guilty (i.e. we didn’t see any value in revealing the people who inspired it).

(1) We are not without blemish. However, we strive to live up to the ideals expressed here. (2) We love Twitter, the sharing that occurs and the great people we follow.

We recently saw a tweet and a series of retweets that made us question Twitter’s value. The tweet was about social media and small business so it grabbed our attention.

It was retweeted a number of times in a very short period of time. In fact, this tweet soon got retweeted enough to be designated a “Top Tweet”.

There was just one problem – the link didn’t work.

Are retweets recommendations?
We often hear about the importance of authenticity. Heck, we talk about it ourselves. So here’s a question …

If authenticity matters, aren’t retweets recommendations? Aren’t our names, our reputations and our goodwill attached to every retweet?

Is it authentic to recommend a post you haven’t read, a podcast you haven’t listened to or a video you haven’t seen?

Admittedly, we don’t know what actually happened to garner the retweets mentioned above.

People may have copied the url in the original tweet.
Once at the site, they may have watched the 37 second video.
And then, they retweeted it.

However, there were 3 retweets within a minute of the original tweet. Maybe we’re just slower than most…

Which content is king?
It raises a question, though. What are retweets based on – the information in the Twitter stream or the quality of the piece to which they refer?

If content is king, which content is it – the keyword-rich headline in Twitter or the underlying post? Should people spend time trying to craft a meaningful post, a quality show or video? Maybe not … maybe there’s a better way… (we say sarcastically)

Is the underlying content even needed?
If the underlying content doesn’t matter, why not just focus on just writing great tweets?

We don’t even need websites.
We don’t need to write blog posts.
There’s no need to make videos.
We can stop doing our podcast.

Think of all the time we could all save. And we can take that same time, effort and energy and just spend it on Twitter.

We can tweet and retweet to our heart’s delight. It doesn’t matter that there is nothing behind it all.

Is the conversation about nothing?

When we have conversations with real world entrepreneurs who are trying to get social media, they often say, “I don’t care what you had for lunch. It’s conversation about nothing.”

We tell them social media is more than that. But is it?

If the quality of the content underlying the tweet hasn’t been reviewed, how can it be recommended? Is it of any greater quality than a conversation about lunch? If we follow the logic, isn’t the conversation about nothing?

Isn’t this how we create value?
If we want to have conversations that add value, don’t we have to consume the underlying content?

Don’t we owe it to this great platform we call Twitter?

Don’t we owe it to our profession as bloggers and podcasters and new media creators?

Aren’t we obligated to our followers to actually filter the content we retweet? Isn’t this how the truly great content rises to the top?

The value lost in retweets about nothing
Shouldn’t we highlight the newbies of our trade who are doing great work? We can’t if our streams are cluttered with retweets about nothing.

Shouldn’t we give notice to the overlooked people in our profession putting out quality content? We can’t if we’re busy retweeting about nothing.

Shouldn’t we continue promoting the A-listers who don’t rest on their laurels? It’s hard to do if we constantly retweet about nothing.

The correlation between value and success
We realize we’re taking a risk with this post. We may piss some people off. We may lose some tweets or retweets. So be it.

We plan to continue putting time, money, effort and energy into creating content. We hope it makes an impact on your life and business. We hope you find it worthy of a tweet or a retweet.

We plan to follow others who do the same. We plan to tweet and retweet them so their great work gets the attention it deserves.

We still believe authenticity really does matter. We still believe in the power of quality content. We still believe that BIGG success is directly correlated with the value you create for other people.

That’s what we think … how about you?

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